A local woman didn’t allow her weight to keep her from joining the US Army.
Julie Radford, 21, of Smithfield said since she was 17 she knew she wanted to enlist. She was working in the area as a CNA when she decided to take a leap of faith and apply for the military.
On November 27th, 2015 Radford went to the US Army recruiting office on Venture Drive in Smithfield to sign up. Radford met all the qualifications except for her weight. She weighed 175 pounds but had to weigh 135 pounds or less to enlist.
Over the next 3-1/2 months Radford began a strict exercise routine. She initially couldn’t walk a mile. But soon she was running a mile. She told WTSB News she then began running 2 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, and now 8 miles per day.
She also began watching the food she ate. She ate more vegetables and less meat.
She also gained the support of the staff at the local recruiting office, Staff Sgt. Michael Green, Captain Charles Thomson, and Staff Sgt. Austin Berrian. Green said he conducts a program every Thursday at a local park for recruits needing to get in shape before being accepted. Green called the regiment similar to exercise recruits would undergo in basic training. Radford was present for all the Thursday workouts.
By early-March, Radford weighed in at 131, losing 44 pounds in 14 weeks and meeting the Army’s final hurdle to enlist.
Radford left Johnston County today (Monday) to travel to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for 9 weeks of basic training. Afterwards, she will undergo specialized training at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Her goal is to work in aviation operations.
An estimated 70 percent of the American population does not qualify for military service. One of the big problems is recruits being overweight.
Captain Thomson said Radford has what it takes and is proud she will be able to fulfill her dream of joining the Army and serving her country.
Anyone considering a career in the US Army can stop by the recruiting office at 255 N. Equity Drive or call 919-934-5953.